Greener BeeGreen Living10 Friend Dates That Don’t Involve Coffee or Alcohol

For 2018, you may have decided to cut out or limit your consumption of coffee and/or alcohol. Great idea! An over-reliance on coffee can leave you strung out, stressed and overtired while overindulging in alcohol can leave you heavier, slower, hangover-ridden and embarrassed. But it’s been a few weeks and reality has likely sunk in—most of our social lives revolve around coffee or alcohol. There’s nothing to do!

Related: 10 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Give Up Booze

If you are planning to go out and catch-up with a good friend and a cafe or bar is out of the question, here are some fun ideas:

Chill at home.

It’s free, it’s cozy, it’s private. If you are sick of the caffeine and alcohol scene, hanging out on the home front is as convenient as it gets. You can do crafts, plan a trip, play board games, cook a meal, whatever you want. It’s easy to relax at home. Of course, if you’re trying to get away from a crowded house to have your one-on-one time, this may not be the best option for you.

Senior couple on hike in a forest taking a selfie

Take a gentle hike.

Becoming healthier while catching up? Can it get any better? I am a huge fan of hikes, both with friends and for business meetings. The fresh air and physical activity inspires a surge of creativity that cannot live within the confines of an office space. If you and a friend are trying to brainstorm, a gentle hike or walk out in nature is the perfect way to do it.

Grab some herbal tea.

Going to a tea house can be a fun ritual. You have your choice of all sorts of delicious teas and get to enjoy the ritual of each individual brewing method. If you don’t have a tea house nearby, a local cafe can suffice if you can resist temptation. If not, consider ordering a few quality teas and setting up a mini tea house at home. Homemade snacks like mochi or lightly sweetened cookies are also encouraged. It’s all about good conversations in a good atmosphere.

Friends painting doors and windows on the wall

Help out with big projects.

If your friend is busy with a big project, like painting their living room, offer a helping hand. Not only will it be a huge help to your friend, but you’ll get to catch up while accomplishing something together. Plus, chores are way more fun when they aren’t your own.

See an independent film.

Check out a new indie movie together and chat about it afterwards over some tea or snacks. Or, if you don’t have an independent cinema near you, see Star Wars. Or watch The Princess Bride at home and recite all of your favorite lines. Whatever floats your boat.

Take on a new creative hobby.

If you have a friend who is always on the go, get up to speed by embracing a new hobby with them. Whether you both decide to learn how to build bikes, paint or bake artisan bread, digging in to a new hobby together on a weekly basis is stimulating and sure to be a blast.

Pack a picnic.

Meeting for lunch? Why not take your meal to go? It’s a wonderful way to change your scenery and get outside. Pack up a baguette, some cashew butter, some jam, and a lovely salad and stroll over to your local park. This may not be ideal in the winter, but think of how lovely a spring, summer or fall catch-up session will be when you’re sitting on a blanket, gazing out at a beautiful field or body of water, feeling the breeze on your face. It’s a billion times better than dining indoors.

Friends reading books

Start a club.

If you’re trying to read more, why not do it with the support of your friends? Start a book or long reads club to discuss books and relevant articles together. Or you could start a biking club, or a pasta-making club, or a writing group, or a build-your-own sweet or savory waffle club! These types of activities are more fun and stimulating when you do them together.

Be a tourist.

Go do something touristy with a friend. Whether that’s the Empire State Building or the country’s biggest corn maze, indulge in a little silly sightseeing. Odds are neither of you has done it since you were 10. Go relive some old memories and have a laugh at how silly it all is.

Create a friend bucket list.

I know that when I hang out with my friends, we usually fantasize wildly about all of these things that would be really fun to do together. Instead of letting those adventures exist only in your mind, why not keep track of them on a list? One of my lists with a good friend consists of a cross-country road trip, canoe camping in the Adirondacks, writing a play, learning more about energy work, going to this massive vintage market, making tacos completely from scratch and baking a 3-tiered cake. Put any and every idea on it. You never know when you’ll be ready to tackle one.

Meeting friends, both new and old, doesn’t have to be coffee and alcohol-centric. There are plenty of wonderful things to do together in the world that don’t require libations. Call up your bestie and start scheming your next adventure right now!

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